Tri x HBB Kai's Review
Kai is a collaboration between TRI and HBB which is also known as Hawaii Bad Boy which I'm sure most of you would have been familiar with already. According to HBB, KAI means water in Hawaii and the reason behind the naming is so that the music flows like water and just enjoys the flow (from the marketing material). Kai is a single dynamic driver with DLC.
Build quality on Kai is solid and is made out of alloy and feels very premium and there are no sharp edges around it. The packaging coming from a TRI brand is a little underwhelmed to me this time around, i expected the packaging to be on par with usual TRI products, this time around, it came with a rather minimal packaging, a box consisting the IEM,cable,eartips all shoved within the carrying case.
The shell size is medium, not too small or big and fits very well on my ears. No discomfort even after a long listening session, however, do take into consideration that not everyone’s ear shape is the same so your experience might vary, but in my personal opinion, it should fit well on most people.
Macbook Air M2 Apple Music/Tidal -> Kaei HP100s -> Kai
Tempotec V6 -> Kai
Macbook Air M2 Apple Music/Tidal -> Dunu DTC 500 -> Kai
I have no prior experience in collabs products from HBB, but knowing his preference and library, I kind of have a little expectation on how the tuning turns out to be. In terms of tonality, it is definitely leaning towards the warmer side with a very good note weight and emphasis on the low end. The timbre does sound very natural to me.
The bass has got a very good texture to it, warm thick and well controlled in my opinion
Sub bass does rumble when it is called for, but i wouldn’t say it is subwoofer like, but it is definitely very enjoyable
Mid bass is thumpy and elevated to provide the extra impact, but occasionally it does bleed into the mids
I like how the bass is done overall, the fun factor it provided and it is quality bass rather than just out right bass quantity
The mids are a little forward and lush to my ears
The warmth carried over from the bass transitioned nicely to the lower mids giving a good and nice texture
Upper mids never fatiguing and clean, instruments sounds very clean and never harsh
Vocal positioning as how would i picture it is a few steps away from you, male and female vocal both has got very nice texture to them, never thin sounding
Not the most detailed set nor it set out aiming to be a detail monster, but generally the treble blend in very well with the overall tuning in the sense of being smooth and pleasant, not sibilant nor harsh
A little lacking in terms of air and sparkle is evident
Detail retrieval is not Kai’s strong point, detail retrieval average for the asking price, can be better but i guess it will ruin the tuning if they make adjustment for this
Soundstage portrayed by Kai shows a good sense of width and height, nothing exceptional but good for the asking price
Imaging is good on most of the tracks but it does suffers a little on some metal tracks such as Slipknot’s People = Shit
Kai is not hard to drive, but when paired with a better source, it does have better control in terms of bass response and better separation. From my observation, it doesn’t really benefit from additional power
Comparison (Letshuoer D13)
In terms of tuning, D13 is leaning towards the slight U shaped leaning towards the slightly brighter side
Bass reproduction is more enjoyable on the Kai while D13’s bass is lesser in terms of quantity
Detail retrieval capability D13 is way ahead of Kai, that is not to say that Kai is bad in any way, it is just tuned differently
D13 itself comes with interchangeable nozzle that allows user to fine tune their treble preference, a plus point in my opinion
In terms of note weight, Kai has thicker note weight and a warmer timbre to my ears, D13’s note weight is just slightly thinner to my ears but nothing bad as both of them are tuned differently
In my opinion, Kai is a well executed IEM as it brings unconventional tuning to the masses in the midst of many which strive for harman or even neutral tuning. Kai is for you if you’re looking for an iem which is analytical or neutral, Kai is for those who are looking for musicality instead of analysing the music. Kai is also not an all rounder as it excels on a certain genre but doesn’t do so well on a certain genre.
As for me personally, Kai works well with my library and I like them. I have no problem recommending them to anyone who is looking for an iem that’s not analytical and laid back but also musical, but if you’re looking for something that’s analytical, this is not for you.
*A big thanks to TRI for sending this over in exchange for this review. I received no compensation nor was I influenced in any way in producing this review.
If you are interested in getting a pair, head over to TRI’s store to get one as they’re currently having a sale right now!